In two simple words, the Auckland Tuatara found their drive; history and tradition.

As the playing group readied themselves for a pre-season series away to the Brisbane Bandits this weekend, the words reverberated around the diamond at Mt Roskill's War Memorial Park like an echo.

Local and international talent alike, they had all bought in to creating something that would help the sport thrive in New Zealand.

Outfielder Eric Jenkins, who joined the team from the Texas Rangers organisation, said the opportunity was too good to pass up.


"I'm really excited for this tradition we're about to start," he told the Herald.

Eric Jenkins joins the Tuatara from the Texas Rangers. Photo / Photosport
Eric Jenkins joins the Tuatara from the Texas Rangers. Photo / Photosport

"(Manager Steve Mintz) asked me if I wanted to come down to New Zealand a play, and I told him I would. It's probably the best decision I've ever made."

His thoughts were shared by Milwaukee Brewers outfield prospect Zach Clark.

"You can't really pass this up," Clark told the Herald. "I definitely think it's cool that this is making history. We're paving the way…I'm pretty pumped to be about it. I know we've got a lot of guys here who are passionate about it so I'm all in – let's do it."

But it's not just the international talents who have quickly bought into the team's aesthetic. In Sky's 'Weekend of Dreams' documentary of the team's hunt for local talent, which premiers on Friday night, the idea of building something for the future is prominent throughout.

Eric Jenkins, Zach Clark and Max Brown. Photo / Photosport
Eric Jenkins, Zach Clark and Max Brown. Photo / Photosport

The half-hour documentary follows Mintz, who also joins the Tuatara from within the Rangers organisation, around the country to find two local players good enough to earn full contracts with the team.

"To be here in New Zealand, to be a part of their first ever professional baseball team – how can you pass that up?" Mintz asked in the documentary.

While local trialists Andrew Marck and Duncan Izaaks received full contracts, 17 players were picked up by the team from their search around the country, with many coming on board in a development squad.


Adding the local talent to imports from Japan, Taiwan, Canada and the USA, the Tuatara have built a competitive squad to fly the flag for New Zealand. And as to how far they can go, Clark was quick to back his squad.

"Oh, we're going to win it, dude - ain't no question...we're gonna win - we got some dudes."

ABL: Weekend of Dreams premiers on Sky Sport 2 at 7:55pm on Friday November 9.